LAST DITCH BUCK APRIL 2016
With the weeks slipping past quickly an afternoon visit to a DAGS permission in Sussex produced the last Fallow Buck of the early 2016 season.
A beautiful warm & sunny Tuesday afternoon I managed to slip off work early and arrive on site at about 4 p.m. The previous evening, I had spotted a small herd of Fallow sheltering under some bushes at the bottom of a steep incline. The path into the site borders this area so on arrival I stalked carefully down the wooded path emerging at the top of the field edging the trees. A quick check on the wind had it blowing across my position and whilst not ideal it could have been a lot worse. Taking care to hug the tree line I stalked up along the top of the field where a small rise prevented me being spotted from the bushes below. Once in position directly opposite the bushes I set up my sticks, stood tall and scanned the area with my bins.
Nothing came immediately to view but with a little patience I did manage to see movement about 5m into the bushes and woods below. Dropping down on hands and knees I crawled to the top on the rise until even my low crawl could have given me away. Then pulling the scrim up over my face and slipping on to my belly, I commando crawled another 20m to a shootable position.
Setting up on low sticks I focused in the Swaro scope on a doe who by now was right on the edge of the bushes. For a hart stopping second I thought id been seen as she appeared to be looking straight at me in that typical frozen stance of a deer on full alert. Thank fully her head dropped and she began grazing again in earnest. Than unexpectedly from her right in the open field I spotted two more does casually walking into the opening. With the scope on max power X 15 I searched for evidence of a buck without success.
Cross hairs resting perfectly on the largest of the now four does in front of me, I was rueing the weeks before when they were in season and where simply nowhere to be found. How do they know? I have always wondered.
Some 20 minutes had passed and hands were beginning to sweat and eyes itch when in the background I spotted the unmistakable antlers of a mid-age buck in the woods. Far too many branches and twigs were in-between my 125g 308 and it so I took a rest and laid down looking at the sky and soaking in the sunshine. A crafty glance with the bins found the buck to now be right on the edge of the wood and about six does already outside grazing on the new grass.
I checked the turret position on the Swarovski and made sure the scope was set to 100m before rolling over and mounting the rifle again with agonisingly slow movement. The cross hairs settled on the head of the buck as it was dipped down to eat. I waited for it to move into a better position and sure enough it came head on and again its head dipped to eat and I wasted no time in taking the shot just above the line of its eyes.
The most satisfying thing about a well head shot deer is it just hits the ground hard. No pain no running. Just munching away one minuet and gone the next. The does stood for a moment startled by the shot then bounded off into the woods behind. There’s not much point in waiting when you hit a deer with a 125grain 308 ballistic tip head shot but just in case I observed the deer through my bins for ten minutes before setting off to get the quad for the extract.
All clean shots are satisfying but this deer was being planned in the car on the way there and the plan went exactly as I’d hoped. A rare thing as we all know. All in all, a great way to end the early 2016 buck season.